Posted in theater, year end bests

Making the lists

The Children Ensemble. Photo By Matthew Murphy.
The Children Ensemble. Photo By Matthew Murphy.

Looking back on the year about to pass is a time-honored activity. Critics make lists of the past year’s favorites and share them. Seems like a good time for us to do that, too.

We posted a couple of year end reviews and then realized that neither one was a LIST of our faves for 2015.

So, back to the drawing board for T and B On the Aisle it is:

10! is our number one pick- Hamilton 

9. Something Rotten! 

8. School of Rock- The Musical

7. Hir

6. The Humans

5. Clever Little Lies 

4. On Your Feet! 

3. Fool for Love

2. Dada Woof Papa Hot

and last but not least, Marjorie Prime

 

 

 

Posted in theater, year end bests

Year end review

Looking back on the year about to pass is a time-honored activity. Critics make lists of the past year’s favorites and share them. Seems like a good time for T and B On the Aisle to do that, too.

Okieriete Onaodowan, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Anthony Ramos, and the company of Hamilton. Photo by Joan Marcus.
Okieriete Onaodowan, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Anthony Ramos, and the company of Hamilton. Photo by Joan Marcus.

While Hamilton remains my perfect 10 (it feels like I posted at least 10 reflections on it), I have a deep appreciation for the literate and show-bizy silliness that is Something Rotten! (which got more than a few mentions from me as well.)

And a new fave has hit town with the opening of the Broadway version of the Mike White-written Jack Black movie, School of Rock. team that brought it to Broadway includes Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber (music), Glenn Slater (lyrics) and Julian Fellowes (book) with choreography by Joann M. Hunter and scenic-costume designs by Ann Louizos. School of Rock-The Musical really rocks.

In the straight play category, there are several contenders for year’s best. Taylor Mac’s Hir and Stephen Karam’s The Humans are at the top of the list. (The latter is headed for Broadway in 2016.) Peter Parnell’s Dada Woof Papa Hot is an entertaining and well-devised show, as well.

More here…

 

Posted in drama, family drama, theater

Welcoming the Paradigm Shift

Gender identity is a fraught subject, or it can be.extended

Unless you’re Paige (Kristine Nielsen) in Hir, at Playwrights Horizons, now extended (for the third second time) to January 3rd December 20th, who exuberantly celebrates the “paradigm shift” in her family, and posts the alphabet of sexual orientation and identification to her fridge.

In Hir, the superb new play by Taylor Mac, Isaac (Cameron Scoggins) comes back from a war zone to a home he doesn’t recognize.

His mother, Paige is systematically neutering his father. Paige tells Isaac that she feeds Arnold (Daniel Oreskes) estrogen to quiet him. Paige says his chronic violence against his family is borne of mediocrity. His anger was only exacerbated by his being set aside in a society that no longer needs angry white men to perform the tasks that a younger more diverse workforce has can do. The patriarchy, Paige says, is dead, even though her other child, once Maxine has turned hirself with internet-purchased ‘mones into Max (Tom Phelan.)

Isaac is a sad, unsettled soul, with few prospects, even of inheriting his own birthright. Isaac rails against his mother’s mistreatment of his father, much as Hamlet in another time and play, objected to Gertrude’s mistreatment of his father, the King.

Paige is mercilessly unsentimental. Nielsen, as is usual for this terrific actress, has serious fun with this serious and seriously funny role. She parses every sentence to give Paige her hard-won power. Paige may have miscalculated the support she can expect from Isaac.

David Zinn has made a wondrous to behold thunder-struck set for Isaac to tidy for Hir.

Taylor Mac treats his eccentric, yet somehow mainstream, characters with humor and
respect.  Under Niegel Smith’s direction, the ensemble is flawless. 

Hir is a marvelous and must-be-seen play.

For more information on Hir, and for tickets, please visit  http://www.playwrightshorizons.org/shows/plays/hir/

Next up at PH: Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime, directed by Anne Kauffman and starring Lois Smith.